Hurricane Ridge Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

8.6
FIETS
17.9 mi
DISTANCE
5,272 ft
GAINED
5.3 %
AVG. GRADE

FULL CLIMB STATS

INTRO

Cycling Hurricane Ridge is one of the greatest bike riding experiences in the Northwestern United States. This long and challenging bike climb enters Olympic National Park early on and ends at the wonderful and scenic venue of the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center. A very fun trip is to take the ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge Island and then drive and stay in Port Angeles.
The average grade of 5.3% increases 17% to 6.2% when we remove the several short descents along the route from the gradient equation.  The bulk of the climb is at 0-10% - 34% (6 miles) 0-5% and 46% (8.3 miles) 5-10%.  The steepest quarter-mile on the climb is 12.4% at mile 3.4, and the steepest mile is 9% beginning at mile 1.5.  10% of the climb is at a 10% grade or greater. 

See more details and tools regarding this climb's grade via the “Profile Tool” button above.
Roadway:  Pristine.

Traffic: Good.

Parking:  There are many public parking areas in the tourist town of Port Angeles where the climb begins - Google Map - Parking.  The best location to park if you are not riding from your lodging in or near Port Angeles is at the Olympic National Park Visitor Center (map) just a block up the road from the start. 
Be sure to check the PJAMM Weather tool for weather forecast at the top of the climb (5,000' higher than the start) and bring appropriate clothing. 
Before heading out on any cycling adventure check out our Things to Bring on a Cycling Trip and use our interactive check list to ensure you don't forget anything.
We enjoy taking the ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge  The Ferry runs every 1½ hours (schedule) from the Seattle Terminal at the 801 Alaskan Way Pier 52, just 13 miles north of SeaTac (Seattle-Tacoma International Airport). The main website for the terminal lists the space available for the upcoming six ferries. We encourage the ferry crossings as this really does add to the overall experience of this exceptional journey.

There are many things to do and see in Olympic National Park - our favorite is Hoh Rainforest. Our other Port Angeles Area favorites are: (a) the Sequim lavender fields (we visited B&B Family Farm) and, (b) the Olympic Game Farm also in Sequim (about 15 miles from Port Angeles).

The Port Angeles area is gorgeous, and you will have  no problem finding a great hotel or vacation rental option.

ROUTE MAP

MEMBER RATING

Difficulty: Challenging
4.3
Road
3.5
Traffic
4.5
Scenery

CURRENT WEATHER

NEARBY CLIMBS (0) RADIAL PROXIMITY

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MEMBER REVIEWS & COMMENTS

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Oct 4, 2021
difficulty: Challenging
scenery: 4
traffic: 3
road: 5
Oct 4, 2021
scenery: 4
traffic: 3
road: 5
Based on the PJAMM excellent information and description I decided to add this climb to a visit to Washington. I'm so glad that I did as the ride was simply spectacular. I ride lots of very steep terrain here in the northeast, but there are no climbs of 18 miles. I did not drive the climb, so I really did not know what to expect. I took it rather slow, expecting it to get difficult, but It's never really difficult, just long. And so beautiful. I stopped twice on the way up to view and photograph the scenery. The day was mostly sunny with temps in the 50 - 70. Perfect temp going up, but I froze going down. I stayed at the top for over an hour and the temperature dropped and sun disappeared behind the clouds. I had to descend slowly and stop often, as I was shaking with the cold. The descent would be glorious on a warm day. I did the climb on September 13, 2021.
Jul 31, 2021
difficulty: Challenging
scenery: 5
traffic: 3
road: 4
Jul 31, 2021
scenery: 5
traffic: 3
road: 4
What a great ride! Started at Port Angeles, at sea level.
Jul 21, 2021
difficulty: Challenging
scenery: 4
traffic: 4
road: 4
Jul 21, 2021
scenery: 4
traffic: 4
road: 4
I’ve done this climb twice and am about to do so again for the ride the hurricane event. They close the road from 07:00-12:00 once each year. I’m riding my gravel bike for the gearing, my bmc is lighter but this is a climb where you just want to pick a gear and settle in for an hour plus , probably two for most. Another reading for the gravel is the descent. That is the best. You can easily reach 40-45 mph. We passed cars the first two times I’ve done this, as out of state tourists seem to freak out at mountain driving. There are only a couple of turns where you need to control speeds. I have not brought lights. The tunnels are short. But a rear light is a good idea. Excellent views at many places on the way up, and of course at the top, it’s stunning. There’s a great brewery in port Angeles fir a post ride quaff. Right on the waterfront. A couple blocks east of the black ball ferry terminal.
May 29, 2021
difficulty: Challenging
scenery: 5
traffic: 4
road: 4
May 29, 2021
scenery: 5
traffic: 4
road: 4
I climbed it almost 2 years ago, it was great, I should have taken the opportunity when it arose in March to have done it again. I had never climbed anything bigger than 500-700ft tall, so I kept thinking that I was almost done, kept finding out I wasn't, also somehow I thought that I would get the kom... Took almost 3 times as long as kom for me.
Apr 10, 2021
difficulty: Challenging
scenery: 4
traffic: 3
road: 5
Apr 10, 2021
scenery: 4
traffic: 3
road: 5
A steady gradient with most of the harder parts in the first stretch up to the park entrance. Bring a light for the tunnels. Great views as you get further up. I did this two times back to back as a test before taking on Haleakela (it worked!). Facilities and parking at the visitor centers at the bottom and the top.
Mar 9, 2021
difficulty: Challenging
scenery: 5
traffic: 4
road: 4
Mar 9, 2021
scenery: 5
traffic: 4
road: 4
I was expecting it to be much more difficult since at the time, it was twice as long as any other climb I had done. However, it was a fairly comfortable climb. Traffic was light on the way up because I started early, but on the descent I noticed that the traffic had increased exponentially. Great views at the top, which is what you would expect from a mountain climb!
ROUTE MAP
PROFILE TOOL

Climb Profile Not Found
CLIMB SUMMARY

Cycling Hurricane Ridge - aerial drone photo of last 1.2 miles

Final 1.2 miles to Hurricane Visitor Center (upper left)

US Top 10 Most Scenic Bike Climb

“A contender for the most difficult climb in Washington, Hurricane Ridge is a long and scenic ride into spectacular Olympic National Park along a mostly moderate and consistent grade. After 0.3 miles you will pass the lower national park Visitor’s Center on the right. Just beyond the road splits to the right. After another ~5 miles of moderate grade climbing and with views in places you reach the national park entrance station. A few miles beyond the entrance station you will pass through three short tunnels one right after another on the way up. More mostly steady grade climbing follows and near the top of the hill the trees part to reveal amazing views of snow capped peaks on clear days. The climb ends at the upper national park Visitor’s Center on the left at over 5,000 feet (the road continues beyond the Visitor’s Center for a short distance but descends and then dead ends). There is often weather in the area during each season but the road is open all year (plowed in winter). Make sure you carry cold/wet weather gear at all times on this one.” (This quote is presented with the approval of John Summerson, from his book, The Complete Guide to Climbing (by Bike), 2nd Edition, pg. 224.)

Hurricane Ridge climb by bike - aerial drone photo of last mile to Visitor Center

Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center - just right of photo center.

Hurricane Ridge bike climb ends at the Visitor Center.

Mt. Olympus is the middle peak left-center of photo.

WOW . . . in our opinion Hurricane Ridge is one of THE most scenic cycling climbs in the U.S., most of which travels through spectacular Olympic National Park in Washington state.  This is an exceptional climb for many reasons including gorgeous scenery, magnificent views, the incredible road, super fun descent, heavily forested for most of the climb, in a National Park.  

23 seconds of Hurricane Ridge

Our full 3:42 YouTube Video of Hurricane Ridge

Visit our Olympic National Park page.

Before heading out to tackle Hurricane Ridge, be sure to rely on our list of Things to Bring on a Cycling Trip, and use our interactive checklist to ensure you don't forget anything.

The climb begins in Port Angeles, Washington, a couple hours drive from Seattle with no traffic; see ferry details below for alternate access to the climb.  Taking advantage of Washington’s extensive and affordable ferry system is not a bad option!  

Ocean and wake from ferry on way to Hurricane Ridge and pano of Seattle

It’s a trek to get to, but you don’t have to drive . . .

. . . Seattle in our ferry’s rear view mirror . . . 👍

There is an annual bicycle-only-day (Ride the Hurricane) in early August each year beginning at the Port Angeles City Pier and ending at the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center.  The event was even (safely) held during the pandemic on August 2, 2020.

Beginning of Hurricane Ridge Bike Climb,  Port Angeles

Climb begins in Port Angeles (football legend John Elway’s birthplace).

We pass Olympic National Park Visitor Center at mile one and come to the park’s toll booth at mile 6.2. There is a $15 entrance fee for cyclists as of July, 2019 (up from $7 August 2015).  

Cycling Hurricane Ridge - PJAMM's Bruce Hamilton, John Johnson and Stacy Topping with bikes at National Park sign

Enter the National Park at mile 5.

   climbing Hurricane Ridge by bike - John Johnson with senior park pass at park entrance 

$15 for the younguns . . .for the olduns . . .

. . . the “good news” - $80 lifetime pass at 62 . . .

. . . the bad news - your 62!

From our entrance into the park to the top of the climb 12 miles later, we have many exceptional views of the surrounding mountains, ultimately viewing  Mt. Olympus, the highest point in the Olympic Mountains. You can also see the Puget Sound/Strait of Juan de Fuca, the international boundary between Canada and U.S.  We are a stone's throw from the Canadian border at the beginning of the climb.

Climbing by bike Hurricane Ridge - PJAMM's Bruce Hamilton, John Johnson and Stacy Topping with bikes and Port Angeles in background 

Port Angeles and Strait of Juan de Fuca in the background

Cycling Hurricane Ridge - Tunnel and Bike sign on Hurricane Ridge Road during bike climb

Now that’s bike friendly!

As with many of the most scenic cycling climbs in the U.S., the cyclist has a great advantage over the motorist: we can stop to take in the view or photograph anywhere we wish, cross the road, stop, and edge down the mountain a bit for better views between trees.  We truly feel that the best way to see these great rides is from the saddle of a bike.  We cannot say enough about this climb.  It is a must-do for anyone willing to travel a bit to experience one of  the top cycling climbs in the U.S.  It is easily accessible, especially if you are planning a trip to the Pacific Northwest for cycling.  

A few points we can pass on regarding this one:

  • As stated, views are exceptional.  We pass above the treeline during the last couple of miles (see slideshow above and panorama slideshow, below) at which time the thick northwestern forest opens up to breathtaking panoramic views of the scenic Olympic Mountains.

Bicycle ride Hurricane Ridge - cyclist riding on road with trees and ocean in background 

Biking Hurricane Ridge - cyclist on road with wildflowers 

Wildflowers from early spring into fall, depending on your elevation.

Hurricane Ridge summit with clouds laying in canyons between mountain ridges

  • ​There is a nice Visitor Center at the very end of the climb with a few coin operated telescopes, a snack/gift shop and, when we were there August 1, 2015, the tamest deer we have ever seen.  Great photo ops!

Deer at Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center

Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center

Biking Hurricane Ridge - information sign at Visitor Center with Mount Olympus in background

Mt. Olympus in the background

Bicycle ride Hurricane Ridge - John Johnson, Stacy Topping and Bruce Hamilton at Visitor Center with Mount Olympus in background

John, Stacy and Bruce 7-31-19

Visitor Center overlook

 Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center grill

Store and grill.

Biking Hurricane Ridge - Marmot on curb

Much wildlife around the VC.

  • The grade is fairly steady throughout the climb, so, while this is a highly rated climb due to its length and elevation gain, it is very manageable and pleasant.

  • Tunnels:   Generally, tunnels and cyclists don’t get along, but the three short contiguous tunnels on this climb actually add to its charm as they are configured in a scenic manner by our observation.

Cycling Hurricane Ridge - cyclists entering tunnel

3 tunnels mid way up the climb . . .

. . . bring rear flashing lights.

  • Roadway surface is exceptional, particularly after entering the national forest.
  • ​Traffic was not a problem during our ride and the speed limit is 45, although traffic never seemed to be going even that fast.
  • When to cycle Hurricane Ridge: The road is open, weather permitting, all year.  However, due to northwestern weather, it is strongly recommended you ride this one from June through September as these are the warmest and driest months for this area.
  • How to climb Hurricane Ridge by bike: No special gearing or gear is needed for this climb.  The grade throughout is mild and averages a reasonable 5.3% (steepest ½ mile is 9.4%).  The road is paved from top to bottom and the weather is generally mild although do bring at least a wind jacket with you since you will top out above 5,000’ at the Visitor Center.  The climb itself  begins at the intersection of East First St (Highway 101) and South Race St, Port Angeles, WA, 130 miles northeast of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Latitude: 48.10459, Longitude: -123.42626).

Hurricance Ridge - Olympic National Park  - aerial drone photos

Hurricane Ridge from above.

 

Steepest ¼ mile begins at mile 3.4 (12.7%) and steepest mile begins at mile 1.3 (8.9%)

How did Hurricane Ridge get its name? 

According to Exotichikes.com, the story goes that on an incredibly windy day in 1897, W.A. Hall, a prospector, climbed up to Hurricane Ridge from the Elwha River. As he passed the breathtaking scenes of wildflowers, marmots, deer, and other flora and fauna, he made his way to the summit of what is now known as Hurricane Hill.  “Standing atop one of the best views in the world, he was struggling” to maintain his footing.  He leaned forward in order to remain upright, with “his long white beard blowing in his weather beaten face.  As the 100 mile per hour winds slammed against him, he muttered, ‘This must be a dag-gum Hurricane.’


Ok, that probably isn’t what he said,  but the story is still 100% real. Hurricane Ridge was named because a prospector decided, on a super windy day, to go stand on top of a mountain.”

How to get to Hurricane Ridge:

By Ferry:

If one is interested in adding to the scenic trip to Hurricane Ridge and Olympic National Park, take the Seattle-Bainbridge Ferry if you are coming from Seattle.  The Ferry runs every 1½ hours (schedule) from the Seattle Terminal at the 801 Alaskan Way Pier 52, just 13 miles north of SeaTac (Seattle-Tacoma International Airport).   The main website for the terminal lists the space available for the upcoming six ferries.  We encourage the ferry crossings as this really does add to the overall experience of this exceptional journey. (Photo note: This is a photo from the Edmonds-Kingston Ferry that we took on our way back from Port Angeles and Olympic National Park - this is the closest ferry crossing to the mainland from Port Angeles but is 32 miles north of SeaTac).    

                                                 

Using Ferry to get to Hurricane Ridge bike climb

We prefer the ferry to the drive.

    Cycling Hurricane Ridge - Mt. Rainier as seen from the ferry across the bay

Mt. Rainier to the south as seen from the ferry.

Mt. Baker to the north

Generally, it is about 20 to 40 minutes faster to drive than take the Edmonds-Kingston or Seattle-Bainbridge Ferry, but, as we stated above, we much prefer the ferry.

By Car:

It’s a little quicker by car.

Edmonds Ferry upper gray line and Seattle car route is in blue.

Where to stay when riding Hurricane Ridge.

We stayed in Port Angeles at the Red Lion Inn each of our 2 trips to climb Hurricane Ridge.  Red Lion rooms with views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca were about $200 per night as of July, 2019.

Red Lion via drone - Hurricane Ridge in background.

 

Restaurant and free cruisers at the Red Lion.

What else to do while Visiting Hurricane Ridge.

We flew into Seattle on July 29 and flew out August 1, staying 2 ½ days in Port Angeles.  While there we hiked Hurricane Ridge (3 mild but scenic trails at the top), hiked the Hoh Rainforest, visited Mayfield Falls, toured the Sequim Wild Animal Farm and visited one of the famed Sequim lavender farms.

Hoh Rainforest - Olympic NP

Madison Falls, Olympic NP

B&B Family Farm, Sequim, WA

Olympic Game Farm, Sequim, WA

That’s a wrap!